Thursday 5 January 2012

Brew if by sea

Over the holiday break, Drew and I gathered a couple of friends and a keg of our just-finished Kölsch and headed up the coast on a bracing, windy afternoon. The ocean vistas provided an excellent backdrop for sampling our latest creation, and alongside steaks and World Junior hockey domination of the Danes, made for a solid outing.

Its frothy head whipped about by wintry winds,
the Kölsch gazed wistfully at the open sea.

Unfortunately, the Kölsch didn't quite live up to our expectations. Light in colour and flavour, it was certainly well-suited for the type of mass consumption that defined our seaside outing; but it just lacked that crispness we were hoping for. From what I've read, this could be due to our mash temperature of ~ 152 °F (lower temperatures around 145 °F may impart more 'crispness'), or the fact that this style of beer is often fermented and conditioned at colder temperatures (that is, it's often lagered). On the positive side, this beer marked our first use of Irish moss as a clarifying agent, which seemed to have beneficial results. Some chill haze remained, but this likely could have been mitigated by extended cold conditioning, as per the note on lagering above and the comment on improving clarity provided by Jeff of Hoptomology (if you haven't checked out his site, it's an excellent resource for home brewing).

Overall, the Kölsch provided a nice complement to our vacation-within-a-vacation. Its light character may perhaps be better suited for warmer seasons, but the natural keg-cooling ability of a -10 degree wind chill made it über-drinkable. Despite some issues that will hopefully be reconciled in future attempts, my only real regret is that I don't get more opportunities to use umlauts.


  1. Great picture, Earl! Those waves were crazy.

  2. I've crafted a Kolsh haiku for the Darksiders:

    What marvelous brew
    Pairs well with holiday cheer
    I wish I was there

    And another about that haiku:

    What a piece of crap
    A fourth grader could have done better
    Stop writing poems